Smoking Bans Worked Inside and Outside the Home

Smoking cessation efforts more successful when total environmental bans were in place

(RxWiki News) A smoker can’t totally kick the habit by only smoking occasionally. Researchers have found that public — and private — smoking policies may work in much the same way.

Total bans on smoking in the home or in an entire community produced the best results in motivating smokers to reduce or quit using tobacco altogether, a new study revealed.

The authors of this study suggested that these findings confirm the importance of banning smoking inside and outside the home to reduce tobacco consumption.

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Wael K. Al-Delaimy, MD, PhD, professor and chief of the Division of Global Health in the University of California San Diego Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, led this study to assess whether smoking ban policies were associated with changing behaviors among California smokers.

“When there’s a total smoking ban in the home, we found that smokers are more likely to reduce tobacco consumption and attempt to quit than when they’re allowed to smoke in some parts of the house,” Dr. Al-Delaimy said in a news release announcing the results of the study.

California has some of the toughest anti-smoking laws in the nation. The authors noted in their study's introduction, “California has been referred to as ‘America's Non-Smoking Section’ because in 1994 it became the first state in the country to ban smoking in nearly every workplace and effectively banned smoking in indoor public spaces.”

Dr. Al-Delaimy and team conducted a follow-up telephone survey of 1,718 current smokers who had previously participated in the 2011 California longitudinal smokers survey (CLSS), which was also a follow-up study of a 2009 California health survey.

This team discovered that totally banning smoking throughout the home was significantly more effective in reducing tobacco consumption and motivating attempts to quit than banning smoking only in certain rooms.

Smokers in homes where smoking was totally banned were 2.4 times more likely to cut back and 2.3 times more likely attempt quitting than smokers living in a home with no bans.

The total home bans worked in changing the behaviors of female smokers and those aged 65 and older.

Interestingly, total bans were more effective in homes without children. The researchers suggested this may have been a reflection of the goal to quit smoking altogether rather than protecting children from secondhand smoke.

Smokers who lived in cities where outdoor smoking was not permitted were 1.8 times more likely to reduce smoking and 1.7 times more likely to make an attempt to quit than smokers who lived in cities without smoking bans.

City bans produced more quit attempts among male, but not female smokers, the researchers found.

The results were even more pronounced when bans were in place both inside and outside the home. Smokers who identified both home and city bans were 3.8 times more likely to reduce smoking and 4.1 times more likely to attempt to quit smoking than those who reported no environmental bans.

According to the researchers, “These results provide quantitative evidence that smoking bans encourage quitting behaviors that positively impact smokers and nonsmokers, underscoring the public health importance of smoking bans inside and outside the home.”

This study was published in Preventive Medicine.

The California Department of Public Health supported the research. No conflicts of interest were declared.

Review Date: 
December 20, 2013